RAGBRAI 2018 DAY 1 - ONAWA to DENISON

Saturday night in camp I met up with old friends and made new ones. Siouxland Cyclists is not just for Siouxland cyclists and there were people from all over the country. So, if a bike with two seats is a tandem than what do you call one with three seats? I’ll have to ask the family from Texas that has two of them.


Early to rise, early to ride. When I stepped out of the tent at 5 AM Sunday there was already a trickle of bikes riding in the dark. When I left at 6:15 there was a steady stream. In the interim, we witnessed a spectacular sunrise over the loess hills.


Memorial Day
Tire dip in the Missouri River

I headed out with a friend from Le Mars, Jerry Wendt. The ride was through an incredible rolling green landscape. Iowa is beautiful people. Come out and ride!


Today was our shortest day, 43.5 miles. There is was an optional “Gravel Loop” that would bring Sunday’s total to 62.3 miles. I used my publishing deadline as a reason to skip that. The gravel loop went through Morehead. I’m told this one of the most beautiful areas in Iowa.


RAGBRAI calculates route difficulty as distance times slope. The 428-mile trek this year is considered the 4th easiest. I’ll let you know if I agree on Saturday.


We passed through Turin, population 68 in route to Soldier. In between the two towns we participated in the “mile of silence.” RAGBRAI's “Mile of Silence” is dedicated to the memory of those who sadly have been injured or killed while enjoying a bicycle ride. Placards along the way listed their names and ages. There were a lot of placards.


In Soldier we stopped at the local fire department for bathrooms, beverages and breakfast. After a brief stop in Ute for more water, we landed in Charter Oak for a second breakfast. We’ll burn and estimated 2500 – 5000 calories a day on these bikes so a guy must keep his strength up.


Tonight, we’re in Denison. Each Host Community has a theme and Denison may have the best. “Bacon – it’s what we smoke here. Legal in all 50 states.” I usually eat pretty healthy, but food is part of the RAGBRAI experience and I’m going to experience it all. We were greeted with free bacon. I’m going to set out later and find those free maple bacon donuts.


More on the communities, crazy characters, delicious food, unusual bikes, and great entertainment in the days ahead. I’ll end by saying, “Still loving this.”


Todd Moss



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